The past few years have proven to be some of the most lucrative in history for online poker players. With the legalization of online poker in numerous US states, and the launch of several new sites, the industry grew by leaps and bounds.
The question is: now that the rug has been pulled from underneath their feet, how can online poker players keep up the good fight?
Fortunately, the answer is all in the game. Thanks to new strategies, innovations, and a little bit of good old-fashioned elbow grease, players can still profit from the game they love.
Let’s take a look at how online poker players can make money in today’s marketplace.
The year 2014 was a landmark one for online poker players. Not only did it mark the first time that online poker had been legalized in such a wide array of U.S. states, but it also marked the first time that the game had been featured on an NBA court.
With the exception of Nevada, which has always been the pioneer in the industry, all 50 states have now legalized some form of online poker. That means that, for the first time in history, online poker is now officially legal in all 50 states!
The impact of legalization was felt almost immediately by the poker communities on the largest sites. In the wake of legalization, poker sites like Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Amaya saw record amounts of traffic, signifying a huge market demand for online poker. Many of these players were previously spending their time and money playing in online poker rooms based in jurisdictions where the game was still illegal. Now that they had no choice but to play legal, domiciled sites, they had to learn how to play differently to make the most of their new situation.
One of the most significant impacts of legalized gambling has been the change of dynamics in the Poker Royale. Whereas previously a single Poker Royale tournament might attract 100 or so players, today, with so many poker sites and so much competition, these tournaments can easily attract thousands of participants. The number of gamers who take part in these massive online poker tournaments each year is simply staggering, and it’s had a positive impact on the game as a whole. It wasn’t just about winning money at Poker Royale –- it’s about participating and making a difference!
New Sites, New Strategies
Although the large poker sites have been the biggest beneficiaries of legalized gambling, domiciled sites alone do not constitute the entire online poker scene. In fact, there are dozens of smaller sites that specialize in online poker, and they altogether account for a significant share of the industry’s profits.
The reason for this is simple: smaller sites have to work harder to gain traction in a world where the biggest sites already have all the players. But, despite the odds, these smaller sites have found a way to carve out a niche for themselves, and they’ve been able to do so by improving their game significantly.
One of the biggest differentiators between successful small sites and larger ones is the approach they take to table management. Whereas larger sites will typically employ full-time staff members who focus solely on tournament management, smaller sites opt for a mixture of part-time and freelance staff, often handling everything themselves.
The advantage of this is that smaller sites can tailor their strategy more specifically to the demands of their audience. For example, smaller sites might choose to focus on high traffic pots, while bigger sites will typically aim to maximize their winnings, regardless of player base. This makes the games played on smaller sites more valuable, as the competition is typically tighter, and the games are decided on a more frequent basis.
The legal betting market is a vast one, and it encompasses more than just online poker. However, online poker has been the biggest beneficiary of legalization, and it provides a nice slice of the market for new and existing sites alike.
The good news for poker players is that now that the game is legal, there are more markets than ever before in which they can place wagers. This means there’s more opportunity to win money, less competition, and better odds of hitting pay-outs.
Some of the more popular markets in which you can bet on poker include the NBA, MLB, NHL, and PGA. In these sports, you’ll find the most popularly played games (like Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hi-Lo), as well as games that have become obsolete after the advent of online poker (like Stud Poker and Russian Poker).
The key is to find the best odds given the game’s rules. For example, in the case of the MLB, the best odds are at online betting sites that cater to US-based sports fans, as the number of participants (and their ensuing traffic) are much more significant in comparison to other international online bookmakers. The same goes for the NBA, where you’ll only find the best odds at online betting sites that cater to the broader American population.
New Players, New Markets
Even though online poker is now legal in all 50 states, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is now able to play the game. After all, not everyone can afford to set up an online betting account, and not all gambling websites allow players from all states. This means that, for the time being, a significant portion of the market is still excluded from playing online poker.
The solution is rather simple: new innovative technologies can help make online poker more accessible to the masses. One such example are virtual financial institutions, or VFIs, which provide individuals with the tools to open an account and make transactions digitally, regardless of where they live or what country they’re in. VFIs like Citibank, PayPal, and Giropay make it possible for anyone to play online poker, regardless of their financial situation, with only minutes and a few clicks of the mouse.
Additionally, new sites have emerged that are solely focused on getting players from all 50 states, and indeed, from around the world. For instance, Full Tilt recently launched Full Tilt Poker International, which allows players from countries where online poker is illegal to participate in their tournaments and other games. This provides them with a safe haven to play with no worries of getting in trouble for their gambling activities.
More Ways To Win
Thanks to technological advancements and some serious R&D, poker players have more ways than ever to win. Whether you’re playing on a desktop computer or a mobile device, the games are almost all accessible and can be tailored to fit any player’s needs. Additionally, the graphics are getting better and better, and some sites even allow for 3D gaming, bringing that extra layer of immersion when playing online poker!
The earnings potential in online poker is truly amazing. Since the game is largely influenced by the market, what was once a game that offered minimum winnings can now be found with significant pay-outs. Take a look at this year’s biggest pay-outs on PokerStars for instance:
• $8.5 million in the $1,000,000 guaranteed All-American Poker Championship II, which was headlined by a massive $3 million prize pool.• $8.2 million in the $10,000 Pot Odds Challenge, presented by BetDSI.• $4.75 million in the $500,000 Guaranteed Big One For One Drop, which was the biggest non-ticketed pot of the year.• $4.65 million in the $1,000,000 Guaranteed Mini One For One Drop.• $3.7 million in the $10,000 Guaranteed Jackpot Game, where players can win big by hitting a royal flush.• $2.85 million in the $1,500,000 Guaranteed High Roller, where the biggest winner took home $750,000.
Additionally, since many of these sites allow for the use of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, players can actually win money without having to physically possess any. Bitcoins are digital currencies that can be purchased with a credit card on online exchanges such as Coinbase.com. Once you have Bitcoins, you can start trading them for other cryptocurrencies (like Ethereum and Litecoin) and even traditional currencies (like the U.S. Dollar and Euro). This makes cryptocurrencies quite popular amongst gamers, as they can potentially win a significant amount of money without having to break the bank!
The future of online poker looks incredibly positive. Not only has the game benefited from the growing acceptance of gambling as a whole, but new markets and platforms have emerged that make it possible for even more people to play. Additionally, as the landscape adjusts and changes to reflect legalized gambling, new and exiting businesses will emerge that specialize in providing services for the online poker community.